Can You Ever Forgive Me? Movie Review

The makers of Can You Ever Forgive Me? have more affection for its central character than she has for anyone other than her beloved cat. Director Marielle Heller and screenwriters Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty succeed in not making that decision seem like a forgery as they delve into what made Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) behave that way. Based on a true story, Lee is a New York loner in the early 1990s. She’s a writer of biographies whose best work is in the rear view. Her exasperated agent (Jane Curtin) advises her to explore other career paths.

That’s not in the cards for Lee. When she sells a handwritten note from her former subject Katherine Hepburn to go on the collectibles circuit, it dawns on her that it’s easy money. Unfortunately for her, she doesn’t have other pricey artifacts from celebrities lying around. So she forges them. The letters come from Noël Coward and Dorothy Parker, among others. This allows her to pay the rent. It also allows her a creative writing exercise that scratches her itch.

Lee’s partner in crime is Jack (Richard E. Grant), an aging and flamboyant drug dealer who gets through life due to his bright blue eyes. They share a love of alcohol and a lack of empathy for others. They never fully trust one another. Yet Jack comes closer to actually being liked occasionally by Lee over anything other than the feline persuasion.

We’ve seen how strong of an actress McCarthy can be, especially with her Oscar nominated turn in Bridesmaids. Her slew of headlining comedies that followed have sometimes wasted her talents. This is a different story. While there’s plenty of sardonic humor sprinkled throughout, this is her most dramatic turn. Lee is an unpleasant person to be around. Because of McCarthy’s considerable talents, she’s definitely not unpleasant to watch. She’s matched in quality by Grant, who’s terrific.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is unique in that it doesn’t paint a criminal that’s particularly regretful of her actions. After all, it gives her a way to knock out any pesky writer’s block. The screenplay is clever in not over explaining Lee. We eventually see that much of her behavior comes from a deep place of loneliness. It’s telling that she only seems capable of focusing on subjects she never knew who came from a different era that she considers better. She can’t connect with potential women who could be partners or really anyone else. Lee does find a connection with Coward and Parker and makes their missives more entertaining. If only that kind of thing wasn’t illegal. However, it gives Lee Israel one final fascinating tale. And it’s at last about her.

***1/2 (out of four)

2018 FINAL Oscar Winner Predictions

We’ve had months of predictions and endless speculation on this blog about the 2018 Oscars and now it’s come to this. On Sunday, the 91st edition of the Academy Awards will air with your host…

As you’ve likely read, there actually is no emcee for this year’s ceremony. I’m not here to write about that. I’m here to make my final picks for the winners! Let’s break down each race one by one, shall we? And, of course, I’ll have a piece up Sunday night with my thoughts on how it all went down.

Best Picture

Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice

Analysis: First things first. It’s extremely rare that the winner here doesn’t have its director nominated. Therefore, two films that might have served as the biggest competition to Roma could now be seen as longer shots: A Star Is Born and Green Book. You could correctly point out that Argo achieved a victory just six years ago without Ben Affleck getting an individual nod. However, it had been 23 years prior to that (Driving Miss Daisy) when it had occurred previously. BlacKkKlansman and The Favourite are upset possibilities, but the smart money is on Alfonso Cuaron’s Netflix Mexican drama and it would mark the streaming service’s first win in the big race.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Director

Nominees: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)

Analysis: I feel even more confident that Cuaron will take the gold here, even if Roma somehow comes up short in Picture. He’s run the table on precursors, including the DGA prize. It would be his second win in five years, after winning for 2013’s Gravity.

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

Best Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Analysis: This is a tough one as Malek and Bale have split a number of precursors. With the SAG Awards, I deemed it a coin flip and picked Malek. I was right. At the Golden Globes, they both won due to category splits. I won’t be surprised to see either win, but my 50/50 feeling going with Malek worked before

Predicted Winner: Malek

Best Actress

Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Analysis: Aparicio and McCarthy should be honored to be nominated. Colman and Gaga are threats, but Close has fared best in previous ceremonies and there’s the fact that she’s a highly respected performer who’s yet to win despite multiple nods.

Predicted Winner: Close

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Analysis: This category features the last two Oscar winners as Ali won in 2016 for Moonlight and Rockwell took it last year for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. They have far different chances to become two-time victors. Ali is the front-runner. Supporting Actor has seen upsets, but Ali looks strong.

Predicted Winner: Ali

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina de Tavira (Roma), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Analysis: Even though King didn’t get a SAG nod, they bestowed their award to Emily Blunt for A Quiet Place and she’s not even nominated. An Adams name call is feasible since she’s never won, but King will probably be crowned Sunday evening.

Predicted Winner: King

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, BlacKkKlansman, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Star could perhaps shine here, but this really feels like the race where voters will recognize BlacKkKlansman. 

Predicted Winner: BlacKkKlansman

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Favourite, First Reformed, Green Book, Roma, Vice

Analysis: This one is legitimately difficult and I think you can make a case for all of them. Roma is a distinct possibility as the Picture favorite and Green Book could make a showing. Yet my slight favorite here is The Favourite.

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Capernaum, Cold War, Never Look Away, Roma, Shoplifters

Analysis: This could be interesting. As revealed above, Roma is my Picture pick. So it’s automatic that it wins here right? Not so fast. Cold War could get the consolation prize and I feel that’s even more possible since it nabbed a surprise nod for director Pawel Pawlikowski. I’m tempted to pick it, but I’ll say Roma manages the double win. However, if you wish to get creative in your office pool, this could be the race to do it.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Animated Feature Film

Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Analysis: Pixar has dominated this field for years. In most years, it would be risky to bet against them – therefore Incredibles 2. This might be the year to do it as SpiderMan arrived late in the year, swung the momentum, and swept the precursors.

Predicted Winner: SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees: Free Solo, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Minding the Gap, Of Fathers and Sons, RBG

Analysis: One of the biggest shockers when nominations came out was the omission of Mr. Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. I likely would’ve picked it to win had it been nominated. Now I believe this is between Solo and RBG. Reverence for the latter could swing it that way, but I’ll give a small edge to Solo.

Predicted Winner: Free Solo

Best Film Editing

Nominees: BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Vice

Analysis: Bohemian Rhapsody won the significant precursor for its branch and The Favourite or BlacKkKlansman could factor in as well. My gut says Vice may get this one, however.

Predicted Winner: Vice

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Cold War, The Favourite, Never Look Away, Roma, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Major love for the foreign pics here and Cold War has a shot. This is probably Roma’s race to lose though.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Production Design

Nominees: Black Panther, The Favourite, First Man, Mary Poppins Returns, Roma

Analysis: This one comes down to Panther and Favourite in my view and I’ll give the latter an ever so slight edge,

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Costume Design

Nominees: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Black Panther, The Favourite, Mary Poppins Returns, Mary Queen of Scots

Analysis: Like Production Design, Panther and Favourite are the favorites. The best bet could be The Favourite, but Panther has to win something right?

Predicted Winner: Black Panther

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Border, Mary Queen of Scots, Vice

Analysis: A Border win isn’t out of the question, but Vice is the likely recipient here.

Predicted Winner: Vice

Best Sound Editing

Nominees: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, A Quiet Place, Roma

Analysis: First Man and Panther could get this, but that Wembley Stadium sequence could cause Rhapsody to achieve gold status.

Predicted Winner: Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Sound Mixing

Nominees: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Roma, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Even though Star didn’t get in the other Sound race, Mixing seems like where it could be picked. I wouldn’t count out First Man, but I’ll guess Star wins here.

Predicted Winner: A Star Is Born

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Robin, First Man, Ready Player One, Solo: A Star Wars Story

Analysis: It was a bit surprising that Black Panther missed the cut here. Its MCU counterpart Infinity is possible, but I’ll say this is the sole victory for First Man.

Predicted Winner: First Man

Best Original Score

Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, Isle of Dogs, Mary Poppins Returns

Analysis: Another chance for Panther lies here, but I’m going with a coin flip between BlacKkKlansman and Beale Street.

Predicted Winner: If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Original Song

Nominees: “All the Stars” from Black Panther, “I’ll Fight” from RBG, “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns, “Shallow” from A Star Is Born, “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Analysis: My last race is the easiest. “Shallow” is the massive favorite here.

Predicted Winner: “Shallowfrom A Star Is Born

And there you have it. Enjoy the show Sunday night!

2018 SAG Award Predictions

The 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award air tomorrow evening and they could shed some light on which performers are looking more solid for the Oscar in a few weeks. Let’s break down the top races with my winner predictions, shall we?

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Crazy Rich Asians, A Star is Born

Analysis: It’s important to note that the SAG ceremony honors casts and not the “Best Picture” like other shows. This is about the ensemble. A Star is Born is really concentrated on three performances (Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliot) and they’re all up for their individual races, where they all have a shot of winning. I believe it’s entirely possible, however, that the trio also all lose and this could be a considerable consolation prize. The other four films have more sprawling casts. That’s especially true for Black Panther and I’ll say the voters ultimately reward in a different category to project.

Winner Prediction: Black Panther

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

Analysis: As mentioned, Cooper is a possibility. Yet he’s come up empty in other precursors. This could come down to the two Golden Globe recipients for their categories – Bale and Malek. I think it’s a coin flip to be honest. I’ll give the latter a razor-thin edge.

Winner Prediction: Malek

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

The Nominees: Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Analysis: Gaga is the only actress whose picture is also nominated. Her tie with Glenn Close at the Critics Choice Awards made things even murkier. Colman is a possibility here, but I’ll say this branch of actors give it to Close after decades of memorable performances.

Winner Prediction: Close

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

The Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliot (A Star is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Analysis: I wouldn’t count out Elliot, but Ali appears to be the front-runner in all these shows. I think his streak continues.

Winner Prediction: Ali

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

The Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Analysis: A fascinating race as Oscar favorite Regina King’s work in If Beale Street Could Talk was surprisingly snubbed. Blunt is a double nominee, but stands little chance of emerging victorious in either spot. The Favourite ladies could split votes. Robbie didn’t land an Oscar nod and is a long shot. That leaves Adams, who could be a double winner tomorrow with her work in HBO’s Sharp Objects.

Winner Prediction: Adams

And there you have it! I’ll have a recap up after the program airs!

2018 FINAL Oscar Predictions

Well, folks, this is it. After months of weekly predictions and dozens of Oscar Watch posts, it’s time for my final Oscar picks in each feature film category (with an alternate listed as well). Nominations will be out Tuesday morning. I’ve used thousands of words to analyze the 2018 race and here’s the ones that count.

I’ll have analysis up Tuesday evening with how I did. Here we go!

Picture

A Star Is Born

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

Vice

AlternateFirst Man

Director

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Alternate – Adam McKay, Vice

Actor

Christian Bale, Vice

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Alternate – John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

Actress

Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Glenn Close, The Wife

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Alternate – Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns

Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Alternate – Sam Rockwell, Vice

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Vice

Claire Foy, First Man

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Alternate – Marina de Tavira, Roma

Adapted Screenplay

A Star Is Born

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

If Beale Street Could Talk

AlternateFirst Man

Original Screenplay

The Favourite

First Reformed

Green Book

Roma

Vice

AlternateEighth Grade

Foreign Language Film

Burning

Capernaum

Cold War

Roma

Shoplifters

AlternateNever Look Away

Animated Feature

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

AlternateEarly Man

Documentary Feature

Free Solo

Minding the Gap

RBG

Three Identical Strangers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

AlternateShirkers

Film Editing

A Star Is Born

The Favourite

First Man

Roma

Vice

AlternateBlack Panther

Cinematography

Cold War

The Favourite

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

AlternateA Star Is Born

Production Design

Black Panther

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Roma

AlternateFirst Man

Costume Design

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Queen of Scots

AlternateCrazy Rich Asians

Makeup and Hairstyling

Black Panther

Border

Vice

AlternateMary Queen of Scots

Sound Editing

A Quiet Place

A Star Is Born

Black Panther

First Man

Roma

AlternateBohemian Rhapsody

Sound Mixing

A Quiet Place

A Star Is Born

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

Roma

AlternateMary Poppins Returns

Visual Effects

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

First Man

Mary Poppins Returns

Ready Player One

AlternateSolo: A Star Wars Story

Score

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary Poppins Returns

AlternateIsle of Dogs

Song

“All the Stars” from Black Panther

“Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin

“I’ll Fight” from RBG

”Shallow” from A Star Is Born

“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns

Alternate – “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns

And my picks equate to the following movies getting these numbers in terms of nods:

10 Nominations

A Star Is Born, The Favourite, Roma

9 Nominations

Black Panther

7 Nominations

First Man

6 Nominations

Vice

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns

4 Nominations

Bohemian Rhapsody

3 Nominations

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

2 Nominations

A Quiet Place, Cold War, First Reformed, RBG

1 Nomination

Avengers: Infinity War, Beautiful Boy, Border, Burning, Capernaum, Crazy Rich Asians, Dumplin, Free Solo, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mary Queen of Scots, Minding the Gap, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ready Player One, Shoplifters, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse, Three Identical Strangers, The Wife, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

2018 Weekly Oscar Predictions: January 17th Edition

It’s been two weeks since I’ve made Oscar predictions and it’s fair to say a lot has happened since then. The show never did find a host, but a host of significant precursors happened. There were the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. The Directors Guild named their five nominees and they typically nail four of the five eventual nominees in that race. The last 14 days of action have changed my #1 rankings in some very big categories:

  • After consistently being ranked at #1, A Star Is Born now falls to second behind Roma.
  • Keeping with the theme, Christian Bale’s work in Vice vaults to first in Actor ahead of Bradley Cooper in Star.
  • Once again, a Star dips from the top spot as Glenn Close (The Wife) is first in Actress above Lady Gaga.
  • After Globe and Critics victories, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse is #1 in Animated Feature instead of Pixar’s Incredibles 2.

You can can read all the rankings below and on Sunday, I will reveal my final picks for nominees ahead of Tuesday morning’s announcements!

Best Picture

1. Roma (Previous Ranking: 2)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Green Book (PR: 4)

4. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 5)

5. Black Panther (PR: 6)

6. The Favourite (PR: 3)

7. Vice (PR: 8)

8. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 10)

9. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

10. First Man (PR: 9)

11. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 11)

12. A Quiet Place (PR: 13)

13. First Reformed (PR: 15)

14. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Eighth Grade

Best Director

1. Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (PR: 1)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

3. Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 3)

4. Peter Farrelly, Green Book (PR: 6)

5. Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Adam McKay, Vice (PR: 9)

7. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther (PR: 5)

8. Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 7)

9. Damien Chazelle, First Man (PR: 8)

10. Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Best Actor

1. Christian Bale, Vice (PR: 2)

2. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 4)

4. Viggo Mortensen, Green Book (PR: 3)

5. Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

7. Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate (PR: 7)

8. Ryan Gosling, First Man (PR: 8)

9. Robert Redford, The Old Man & The Gun (PR: 10)

10. Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased (PR: 9)

Best Actress

1. Glenn Close, The Wife (PR: 3)

2. Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Olivia Colman, The Favourite (PR: 2)

4. Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

5. Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

7. Nicole Kidman, Destroyer (PR: 8)

8. Viola Davis, Widows (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Toni Collette, Hereditary (PR: 7)

10. Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Julia Roberts, Ben Is Back

Best Supporting Actor

1. Mahershala Ali, Green Book (PR: 1)

2. Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 2)

3. Sam Elliot, A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

4. Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman (PR: 4)

5. Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sam Rockwell, Vice (PR: 7)

7. Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (PR: 6)

8. Steven Yeun, Burning (PR: 10)

9. Nicholas Hoult, The Favourite (PR: 8)

10. Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give

Best Supporting Actress

1. Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 1)

2. Amy Adams, Vice (PR: 2)

3. Rachel Weisz, The Favourite (PR: 4)

4. Emma Stone, The Favourite (PR: 3)

5. Claire Foy, First Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 6)

7. Nicole Kidman, Boy Erased (PR: 8)

8. Michelle Yeoh, Crazy Rich Asians (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Marina De Tavira, Roma (PR: 10)

10. Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

3. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (PR: 4)

4. A Star Is Born (PR: 2)

5. First Man (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Leave No Trace (PR: 7)

7. Black Panther (PR: 5)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

9. Widows (PR: 9)

10. The Death of Stalin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Hate U Give

Best Original Screenplay

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Green Book (PR: 3)

3. Roma (PR: 2)

4. First Reformed (PR: 4)

5. Eighth Grade (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Vice (PR: 6)

7. A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

8. Cold War (PR: 10)

9. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 9)

10. Private Life (PR: 8)

Best Foreign Language Film

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. Cold War (PR: 2)

3. Shoplifters (PR: 3)

4. Burning (PR: 4)

5. Never Look Away (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Capernaum (PR: 5)

7. The Guilty (PR: 6)

8. Birds of Passage (PR: 8)

9. Ayka (PR: 9)

Best Animated Feature

1. SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse (PR: 2)

2. Incredibles 2 (PR: 1)

3. Isle of Dogs (PR: 3)

4. Ralph Breaks the Internet (PR: 4)

5. Mirai (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Early Man (PR: 6)

7. Smallfoot (PR: 8)

8. The Grinch (PR: 7)

9. Ruben Brandt, Collector (PR: 10)

10. Lu Over the Wall (PR: 9)

Best Documentary Feature

1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (PR: 1)

2. Free Solo (PR: 2)

3. RBG (PR: 6)

4. Three Identical Strangers (PR: 4)

5. Shirkers (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Minding the Gap (PR: 3)

7. Hale County This Morning, This Evening (PR: 7)

8. On Her Shoulders (PR: 10)

9. Crime + Punishment (PR: 8)

10. Of Fathers and Sons (PR: 9)

Best Film Editing

1. First Man (PR: 2)

2. Roma (PR: 3)

3. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

4. Vice (PR: 6)

5. The Favourite (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther (PR: 4)

7. Green Book (PR: Not Ranked)

8. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 7)

9. A Quiet Place (PR: 9)

10. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Widows

Mary Poppins Returns

Best Cinematography

1. Roma (PR: 1)

2. First Man (PR: 2)

3. The Favourite (PR: 5)

4. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 4)

5. Cold War (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. A Star Is Born (PR: 3)

7. Black Panther (PR: 7)

8. The Rider (PR: 9)

9. Widows (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Mary Poppins Returns

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IVeUMLYxXXE

Best Production Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Roma (PR: 5)

4. First Man (PR: 4)

5. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 9)

7. A Star Is Born (PR: 8)

8. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 7)

9. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 6)

10. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 10)

Best Costume Design

1. The Favourite (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 3)

3. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 2)

4. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

5. Crazy Rich Asians (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PR: 5)

7. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

8. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PR: 10)

9. A Star Is Born (PR: 7)

10. Colette (PR: 9)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

1. Vice (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 2)

3. Mary Queen of Scots (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

4. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

5. Border (PR: 3)

6. Suspiria (PR: 7)

7. Stan & Ollie (PR: 5)

Best Sound Editing

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. Black Panther (PR: 3)

3. A Quiet Place (PR: 2)

4. A Star Is Born (PR: 4)

5. Roma (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mission: ImpossibleFallout (PR: 6)

7. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 8)

8. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 7)

9. Incredibles 2 (PR: 10)

10. Ready Player One (PR: 9)

Best Sound Mixing

1. First Man (PR: 2)

2. A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

3. Black Panther (PR: 3)

4. Bohemian Rhapsody (PR: 6)

5. A Quiet Place (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

7. Roma (PR: 8)

8. Mission: ImpossibleFallout (PR: 7)

9. Incredibles 2 (PR: 10)

10. Ready Player One (PR: 9)

Best Visual Effects

1. Black Panther (PR: 3)

2. Avengers: Infinity War (PR: 2)

3. First Man (PR: 1)

4. Ready Player One (PR: 4)

5. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Solo: A Star Wars Story (PR: 6)

7. Welcome to Marwen (PR: 8)

8. Christopher Robin (PR: 10)

9. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (PR: 7)

10. AntMan and the Wasp (PR: 9)

Best Original Score

1. First Man (PR: 1)

2. If Beale Street Could Talk (PR: 3)

3. Black Panther (PR: 4)

4. Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 2)

5. BlacKkKlansman (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Isle of Dogs (PR: 5)

7. A Quiet Place (PR: 7)

8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 8)

9. Annihilation (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Vice (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Ready Player One

Best Original Song

1. “Shallow” from A Star Is Born (PR: 1)

2. “All the Stars” from Black Panther

3. “I’ll Fight” from RBG (PR: 4)

4. “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin (PR: 5)

5. “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns (PR: 6)

7. “Revelation” from Boy Erased (PR: 7)

8. “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (PR: 9)

9. “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give (PR: 10)

10. “OYAHYTT” from Sorry to Bother You (PR: 8)

And that equates to the following movies getting these numbers when it comes to nominations:

10 Nominations

A Star Is Born, The Favourite

9 Nominations

Black Panther, First Man, Roma

5 Nominations

BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, Vice

3 Nominations

Bohemian Rhapsody, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

2 Nominations

Cold War, First Reformed, Mary Queen of Scots, A Quiet Place, RBG

1 Nomination

Avengers: Infinity War, Beautiful Boy, Burning, Crazy Rich Asians, Dumplin, Eighth Grade, Free Solo, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Never Look Away, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ready Player One, Shirkers, Shoplifters, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse, Three Identical Strangers, The Wife, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The PGA Boosts Rhapsody

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced their nominees today for their 10 Best Pictures of 2018 and you better believe it comes with Oscar implications. The PGA Awards are correctly looked at as a major harbinger for the films likely to make the final cut of the Academy. Let’s look at the past five years. In 2013, eight of the nominated PGA pics got Oscar nominations. In 2014, 2015, and 2017 – it was seven. In 2016, that was number was nine. The math is a little tricky considering there’s always 10 PGA nominees and it fluctuates with the Academy (usually with eight or nine being the magic number).

As you can see, it’s very safe to assume seven out of the ten PGA picks will get Oscar love. And here are those ten nominees:

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

Crazy Rich Asians

The Favourite

Green Book

A Quiet Place

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

Right off the bat, we have six flicks that appear to be sure things for the Academy. They are BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, and A Star Is Born. I would make the case that, at this point, Vice is the 7th. It got the most nods from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the Golden Globes and its inclusion here is important.

So there’s your seven. Yet the PGA announcements today cause me to consider the 8th. That’s Bohemian Rhapsody. In my weekly Oscar prediction posts, I haven’t included it in my projected Academy movies for Best Picture. I suspect that will change next Thursday. It managed a nod at the Globes for Best Drama. Despite mixed reviews, it’s a box office sensation and audiences dig it. I think it’s in and look for that change to be reflected next week.

Now to the omissions. The PGA selections left out If Beale Street Could Talk and First Man. Those are the two pictures that, as of yesterday, I still had being nominated by the Academy. I still feel Beale‘s road to Best Picture inclusion is fairly solid, though it’s far from a guarantee. I had it listed at #7 yesterday. Expect that to change.

As for First Man, I think it’s time for me to admit that it won’t land recognition from Oscar voters. It has simply failed to gain any significant precursor traction and that trend seems bound to continue. Other pictures could have received a boost from the PGA today and failed. They include Can You Ever Forgive Me?, First Reformed, and Eighth Grade. Also the nods today provide further evidence that Mary Poppins Returns could be in trouble. I took it out of my expected nominees two weeks ago and I don’t see that changing.

So what will be the PGA picks that don’t get Oscar nods? My guess would be Crazy Rich Asians and A Quiet Place, though it could happen. In short, we have more evidence today as to what the Academy will pick. And it’s a good day for Freddie Mercury and company.

2018 Golden Globe Winner Predictions

The highest profile Oscar precursor airs this Sunday with Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh sharing hosting duties. That means it’s time to roll out my predictions on who and what will win in the film categories. Truth be told, some of these races are fairly easy to pick. Others… not so much. Let’s break each category down with my final picks on the victors.

Best Drama

The Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born

It was an interesting decision for Warner Bros. to place Star here instead of in Musical/Comedy. Even with that, I believe anything else winning would be an upset (BlacKkKlansman may have the best remote shot). Star is looked at as a soft front-runner at the big show down the line. I feel a win here will help solidify that.

Predicted Winner: A Star Is Born

Best Musical/Comedy

The Nominees: Crazy Rich Asians, The Favourite, Green Book, Mary Poppins Returns, Vice

Unlike Drama, this race is considerably tougher to project. Vice received the most nominations of any picture and that could mean something. However, critical reaction has been more mixed than originally anticipated. Mary Poppins Returns now seems to be a legitimate question mark as to Oscar inclusion for Picture and the competition is steep. The reward for Crazy Rich Asians is its nomination.

So, for me, this comes down to Green Book and The Favourite and it’s seriously a coin flip. I am giving a tiny edge to Green Book since it received a directing nomination, unlike The Favourite. 

Predicted Winner: Green Book

Best Director

The Nominees: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice)

A win for Cooper or Lee is not out of the question, but Cuaron is the odds on favorite (as he is for the Academy). Roma was not eligible for inclusion in Drama since it’s a foreign pic. It will (spoiler alert for below!) be honored there and here.

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

Best Actor (Drama)

The Nominees: Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

The Best Actor drama race comes down to two performers who used their musical skills to dramatic effect: Cooper and Malek. I would not at all be surprised to see Malek’s Freddie Mercury pick up the trophy, but I’ll say the Star love extends here.

Predicted Winner: Cooper

Best Actress (Drama)

The Nominees: Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Rosamund Pike (A Private War)

Not long ago, the Globes bestowed Lady Gaga with an unexpected win for her TV work in “American Horror Story”. If they did that, I’ll say they honor her here for her breakthrough film role. Close is the only actress that provides potential competition.

Predicted Winner: Gaga

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

The Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), Robert Redford (The Old Man & The Gun), John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)

If the Hollywood Foreign Press goes crazy for Green Book, Mortensen could be a benefactor. Yet I suspect this is the most obvious category to give Vice a win for Bale’s acclaimed performance.

Predicted Winner: Bale

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Charlize Theron (Tully), Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)

This is Blunt v. Colman. With Poppins not quite getting all the box office/critics love that was expected, I lean Colman.

Predicted Winner: Colman

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)

The HFPA has had shockers in this race… Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals being a recent example. This is a tricky one. Other than Rockwell, I could see any name being called. I’m tempted to pick Grant, but I’ll go with Ali for a more safe choice (especially since it was Taylor-Johnson that unexpectedly beat him in 2016 for his Oscar-winning part in Moonlight).

Predicted Winner: Ali

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Claire Foy (First Man), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

These are the five women I currently have down for Oscar nods. I suspect The Favourite ladies will cancel themselves out. Foy would be an upset. Could the several Vice nods mean Adams is a factor? It certainly could, but I believe King’s performance in Beale (not withstanding her SAG snub) will emerge.

Predicted Winner: King

Best Screenplay

The Nominees: The Favourite, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Roma, Vice

Unlike the Oscar, the Globes do not divide this race between adapted and original screenplays. A Roma or Book win is feasible, but I’ll say The Favourite is the choice in this case.

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Foreign Language Film

The Nominees: Capernaum, Girl, Never Look Away, Roma, Shoplifters

As already discussed, this is going to be Roma. Not much left to say.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Animated Feature Film

The Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

It’s generally not wise to bet against Pixar and Incredibles 2 stands an excellent shot. I’m thinking the Globes may go against the grain though as Spidey is peaking at the right time with its very recent raves.

Predicted Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Score

The Nominees: Black Panther, First Man, Isle of Dogs, Mary Poppins Returns, A Quiet Place

Once again, I’m tempted to go with Disney and their iconic nanny as this is the only musical on here. However, I’ll say Justin Hurwitz’s acclaimed score for First Man lands the win.

Predicted Winner: First Man

Best Original Song

The Nominees: “All the Stars” from Black Panther, “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin, “Requiem for a Private War” from A Private War, “Revelation” from Boy Erased, “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

It was unexpected that Poppins made no showing here (part of the reason I’m picking against it in Score). Regardless, there is an extremely obvious front-runner here and it’s Cooper and Gaga’s duet.

Predicted Winner: “Shallow” from A Star Is Born

My projections give Star a bright evening with four victories, with The Favourite, Green Book, and Roma all picking up two. I’ll have analysis up shortly after the ceremony as to how I did. Stay tuned!